PRATTVILLE – The Business Council of Alabama and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama on Wednesday concluded its series of statewide meetings that highlighted their economic development and job creating partnership.
The Partnership Summit at the Marriott Prattville Conference Center at Capitol Hill was the fourth this year. The others were in Decatur, Tuscaloosa, and Spanish Fort.
The BCA-CCAA Partnership was created in 2003 to create a unified “shout” for the Alabama business community and ensure its needs are heard by government. The Partnership Summits gather business, chamber, civic, and elected leaders to discuss job creation, education, and economic development.
Representatives of 12 central-Alabama chambers of commerce attended a morning Best Practices forum and about 105 people attended the luncheon to hear Alabama House of Representatives Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn. Hubbard thanked chamber members and the BCA for supporting the Legislature’s pro-business and education agendas.
“It’s all about making Alabama a better place to live, work, and raise a family,” Hubbard said. “The Alabama Legislature and the Alabama leadership team will help you accomplish your mission because it’s our mission, too.”
Hubbard listed House and Senate accomplishments since Republicans took over the Legislature in 2010.
The GOP agenda, Handshake With Alabama, was followed by pro-business legislation including the Alabama Job Incentive Act authorizing state tax credits for creating jobs, the Aviation and Aerospace Economic Incentive Act that offers sales and use tax exemptions for businesses that maintain and refurbish military and transport aircraft, the aircraft liability law that lured the Airbus aircraft manufacturer to Mobile, the Alabama New Markets Development Act that authorizes tax credits of up to $20 million for business investments in certain low-income areas, secret-ballot, anti-card check legislation, and the Red Tape Reduction Act.
Hubbard said the 21st Century Workforce Development Act that provides $50 million to modernize career tech equipment will be a boon to students who choose non-college careers. “It’s all designed to increase high school graduation and reduce the dropout rate by providing skilled training,” Hubbard said.
William J. Canary, president and CEO of the BCA, said the Partnership supports business education efforts because business is the largest consumer of products of the state education system.
Canary said the state dropout rate of 40 percent prompted the business community to support voluntary pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds that gets them ready for school, among other education improvement initiatives including the Alabama Business Education Alliance.
“We believe in our agenda,” Canary said. “This partnership working with chambers and the commitment of the BCA will make a difference.”
Ronnie Acker, president of the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the CCAA, said Alabama’s unique, 10-year-old Partnership between the BCA and chambers of commerce unites organizations that represent about one million working Alabamians. “Together we’re going to make Alabama one of the best places to do business in the world,” Acker said.
“This is 120 chambers across the state where the best men and women get up every day and go to work to do the best for their communities,” said CCAA President and CEO Jeremy Arthur.
BCA Chairman Carl Jamison, a shareholder in JamisonMoneyFarmer PC in Tuscaloosa, said chambers of commerce are on the front line of recruiting business and industry. “At the state and federal level the BCA is a champion of the private sector,” he added.
Following the Partnership Summit, the ProgressPAC Area 4 Regional Advisory Committee met to discuss the 2014 election cycle and interview office seekers.
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly one million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.